1986
Compilation
£14.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

75
Brenda Gore
Chris Bourne

Jewels of Darkness is the collective title for a trilogy of Level 9 adventures - Colossal Adventure, Adventure Quest and Dungeon Adventure.

These are the three early titles which first established Level 9 as a major force in the adventure world.

Packaged by Rainbird, these adventures have now been improved for their re-release. Colourful graphics, extended text descriptions and a host of new options, such as the resurrection of your character after it has been killed, have been added to the original games.

In Colossal Adventure, you score points for finding various treasures. Depositing these treasures in the small brick building near your starting position will increase your score still further. You lose points for being killed, something which is surprisingly easy to accomplish.

Having found your way underground, remembering that a lamp is useless unless it is lit, you are confronted by a number of perils. Will the Hall of Mists prove fatal or welcoming? What have you done to annoy the dwarf who keeps throwing axes at you? How can you persuade the green snake to let you pa

Well, I can't spoil the adventure for you by answering any of these questions - suffice it to say that the problems aren't too difficult.

The second part of the trilogy, Adventure Quest, is quite similar to the first. The main difference is that you are searching for the Demon Lord's Black Tower, where you hope to defeat the Demon Lord himself.

Again, you start off near a building by a road. Inside you will find an assortment of objects including a sling, a bottle, a bunch of keys and a table. Steps lead down a well in the centre of the room, but you will find it difficult to breathe underwater.

A little exploring will bring you face-to-horn with a unicorn. This beast is easily pacified, if you can stretch yourself enough to provide a flowery offering. This, in turn, opens up further avenues for exploration.

If you chance upon a stone pinnacle, you may also find a robed wizard bearing a scroll. This scroll contains much good advice about the whereabouts of the Talisman and the need for the four stones guarded by the servants of the demon. It also carries the dubious blessing of Typo, god of adventures.

Eventually, you find yourself crossing a trackless desert in pursuit of the Demon Lord. Listen carefully, and you will hear the sound of the giant worm before it emerges from the sand to swallow you whole. You could be forgiven for thinking you had suddenly found yourself on Frank Herbert's Dune - certainly someone at Level 9 is a an SF fan.

Ores and giants abound. And this is the outside of the Black Tower, never mind the heavy stuff inside.

The third and final part of the trilogy, Dungeon Adventure, starts on a bridge leading to a gigantic stone ore's head. The bridge is in fact the orc's tongue and leads into its mouth.

To score points, you must collect the treasures left behind by the late and unlamented Demon Lord and bring them to the store room. In this game it's possible to carry a lot of objects at once, thanks to a Tardis-like technique whereby some things are larger inside than they are outside.

The hazards come fast and furious in this game - perhaps you are supposed to have learnt something from the two previous adventures. Deadly sirens, bloodthirsty guards and evil smelling mud banks lie in wait to trap the unwary.

The science fiction element appears again in the form of the Rakasha - the demons which figured prominently in Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light. You are asked to take part in a dice game. If you win, the Rakasha will strengthen the flames of your soul, but if you lose the Rakasha will claim your body.

The trilogy has survived the test of time very well. Taken together the three titles make an excellent introduction to adventuring and, also, give a real insight into where it all began - with the legendary Colossal Adventure.

The colourful graphics are a welcome addition to the adventures. The locations are depicted in full colour and help to build up the atmosphere. The graphics are static, but no less effective for that.

Dyed in the wool text only fans will appreciate the option of loading Side 2 of the tape. This produces a non-graphic version of each adventure, with expanded text explanations.

All in all, these are still three of the best adventures going. Anyone who missed them first time round should certainly invest in the set now.

Label: Rainbird
Author: Level 9
Price: £14.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Brenda Gore

*****

Level 9's classic trilogy of traditional adventures. A must for every adventure collection.

5/5

Screenshot Text

A spire in the distance. Is it your final destination? Beware axe- throwing dwarves.

Try following the river bed.

Level 9's classic trilogy, re-released with colourful graphics, more text and a host of new options. An excellent starter pack for beginning adventurers.

Stalagmites or teeth? Lead on shining light. Watch for guards.